Craven Leads Tornados to 41-17 Win Over Methodist

Craven Leads Tornados to 41-17 Win Over Methodist

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.Bubba Craven made six catches for 117 yards, including two touchdowns, and Jarkevius Hopkins and Nazayah Brown both reached the end zone as Brevard earned a 41-17 victory over Methodist on Saturday afternoon at Monarch Stadium.

The Tornados (3-4), who emerged with a 21-14 win over Virginia Lynchburg a week ago, have now won back-to-back games for the first time since the 2010 campaign when they downed Johnson C. Smith and Southern Virginia in succession, coincidentally the last time that Brevard posted two road wins in the same season.

Craven, who topped 100 yards receiving for the third time this season, was the primary target of quarterback O'Shay Carter who finished 15-of-23 for 193 yards passing. Hopkins narrowly missed his second 100-yard rushing performance of the campaign, recording 96 yards on 13 attempts.

Senior linebacker Jinsly John (eight tackles) and sophomore defensive lineman Johnathan Tucker made seven tackles to lead the way for a Brevard defense that limited the Monarchs (1-5) to three third down conversions in 16 attempts.

Methodist did not cross the plane of the goal line until the fourth quarter, when it put together a 91-yard scoring drive that took 4:31 off the clock. The Monarchs scored on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Steve Keoni to Dylan Cummings, briefly trimming the Brevard lead to 24-10.

Xavier Brown answered on the ensuing kickoff, breaking away from multiple Monarch defenders to record a 76-yard kickoff return as the Tornados moved back in front by 21. It marked the first time a Tornado has returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the program's 11-year NCAA history.

The back-and-forth scoring continued between the two teams when Methodist took over at its own 20 yard line. Two tackles for loss by the Brevard defense pushed the Monarchs back to the 16, before a 53-yard scamper by Keoni put Methodist at the Tornado 31. Two plays later, at the Brevard 25, Keoni connected with Josh Carter for the second Monarch touchdown of the afternoon.

Looking to solidify the win, Carter and the Tornado offense began the first drive of the fourth quarter at its own 32. Methodically, Brevard picked up 41 yards on seven plays as it moved to the Monarch 27. Nazayah Brown broke a play through the middle of the Methodist defense and extended the lead to 38-17 with 5:30 remaining.

Brevard's defense limited the Monarchs to 15 yards on four plays to open the third quarter, forcing a punt that bounced to the Tornado 23. Hopkins gained 16 yards on the first two plays of the drive, converting the 13th Brevard first down of the contest. Two plays later, facing third down and a short two, Carter hit an open Craven, who streaked past multiple Methodist defenders en route to a 58-yard touchdown as the Tornados assumed a 24-3 lead.

The two teams traded field goals in the second quarter with Methodist striking first. The Monarchs capped off a 16-play, 65-yard drive with a 31-yard conversion by Landon Cheviron. Brevard answered two possessions later, after starting a drive at its own 24-yard line following an interception by Samuel Brown. The Tornados travelled 64 yards on 10 plays, highlighted by pair of Carter completions to Tyler Gregory (11 yards) and Craven (24), before Joseph Calhoun converted a 30-yard field goal to give the Tornados a 17-3 advantage at halftime.

The Tornados started their third drive of the game at their own 49-yard line and Carter immediately went to work. He connected with Gregory for a 15-yard gain to start the drive, which was followed by a 20-yard pickup by Bobby Clerisier as Brevard moved to the Monarch 16. Carter found Craven in stride for a 16-yard completion to give the Tornados a 14-0 lead.  

Brevard began its opening drive of the game at the 37-yard line, following a 12-yard pickup by Nazayah Brown. He made a huge contribution on the opening play of the drive, gaining 26 yards and in the process moving the Tornados into Methodist territory. Three plays later, with Brevard facing third and seven, Carter hit receiver Xavier Brown at the Monarch 25 to extend the drive.

Hopkins found a seam in the Methodist defense for the second 20-yard gain of the opening drive, as he gained 21 yards and moved the ball to the four yard line. Tyler Gregory took over at quarterback, diving over the goal line for the first score of the game.

The Tornados make their return to Brevard Memorial Stadium next Saturday when they host Ferrum at 1 p.m.